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Remarks by Ambassador Pranay Verma At the ICWA-VIISAS International Webinar New Horizons in India-Vietnam Relations (7 October 2020)

Posted on: October 07, 2020 | Back | Print

Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs,

Shri V. Muraleedharan

Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam,

H.E. Mr. Nguyen Minh Vu

Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Prof. Dang Nguyen Anh

Director General of Indian Council of World Affairs,

Dr. TCA Raghavan

Ambassador of Vietnam to India, H.E. Mr. Pham Sanh Chau

Director of VIISAS, Prof. Nguyen Xuan Trung

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen!

As the COVID-19 pandemic resets many of the templates on which human lives and behaviours are organized, it is quite timely that today’s discussion seeks to explore the future of India-Vietnam relations in the new context.

As our keynote speaker, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, as well as the Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam have pointed out, there is enough confidence on both sides in the future of this important relationship.     

To begin with, the deep reservoir of political and strategic mutual trust and understanding between our two countries provides a solid foundation for our cooperation to take a new leap forward.

We also share developmental instincts as two aspirational societies with a young demography yearning for progress and prosperity.

Faced with the uncertainties of COVID-19, both India and Vietnam aspire for self-reliance to become self-sustaining and resilient. As Hon’ble Minister mentioned, our self-reliance is not about self-isolation, but rather to build capacities at home so that we can engage in global economy more capably, more confidently. 

Our nationalism, too, unlike much of the rest of the world today, is not inward looking, but rather very internationalist in outlook. We are willing to shoulder regional and international responsibilities for collective good and mutual development.

We are also two countries increasingly driven by the promise of new technologies, innovation, and digitization to deliver economic growth and people’s empowerment.  

Ladies and Gentlemen!

This is the context that gives us much hope for a bright horizon in India-Vietnam relations.

Much of this has already been elegantly articulated by our distinguished speakers.

I will touch upon only a few of them.

Let us take our economic engagement.

The pandemic has pushed us into rethinking the way we engage with each other and it is here that new opportunities emerge. Today, as we explore new partnerships and resilient supply chains based on trust rather than mere economic expediency, there is an opportunity for India and Vietnam to expand their economic linkages.  To do so effectively, we must also upgrade our trading architecture by expeditiously undertaking the long-overdue review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA).

As India positions itself as a leading factor in the post-COVID global economic revival, it creates opportunities, demands and capacities from which close partners like Vietnam stand to benefit immensely. Similarly, Vietnam’s ambition to become a high-income economy by 2045 creates new horizons for our partnership in the region and globally.

Our defence engagement – another key pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership – is poised to grow. India’s defence credit lines worth 600 million dollars to Vietnam showcase our new future-orientation in defence industry collaboration.

Our energy partnership and development cooperation are moving into newer areas and in sync with our needs and capacities. Water resource management, healthcare, education and heritage conservation are some of the emerging areas of our development partnership.

Connectivity is the new touchstone of our engagement with Vietnam and the rest of the ASEAN region, to bring our economies and societies closer together.

Domains like civil nuclear, space and digital technologies are acquiring greater salience in our partnership, as both countries move decisively to embrace IR 4.0.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Convergences in our international outlook make meaningful cooperation between us at the global stage much more likely. We have shared values and interests. Our views on most regional and international issues are broadly similar. We both respect international law and rules-based order. We both support reformed multilateralism.

As India joins Vietnam as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on the coming January 1st, our multilateral cooperation stands to get a new boost.

With Vietnam successfully steering the ASEAN presidency in a year made particularly difficult by COVID-19, our resolve to engaging with Vietnam and ASEAN have been further strengthened. 

As two maritime nations, India and Vietnam have important stakes in peace, stability and development of our shared Indo-Pacific region. Whether it is India’s “Act East Policy” or our “Indo Pacific Vision” or our commitment to SAGAR i.e. “Security and Growth for All in the Region” – Vietnam figures prominently in each of them.

Convergences between ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and our Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative provide a useful roadmap to promote integration, connectivity and cooperation in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

As we can see, as close partners with multifaceted political, economic and security cooperation, the horizon of India-Vietnam relations is indeed bright.

The task in front of us is to translate the multiple convergences and opportunities that exist into deeper cooperation in diverse areas of our engagement.

I compliment the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Indian Council of World Affairs for taking this initiative to organize this webinar.

Bringing together important stakeholders in a discussion like this, will ensure that we remain focused in striving to realize the full promise of this incredible partnership between our two countries.

Thank you!